The annual BioProcess International Conference took place last week in Boston and, as usual, provided numerous and insightful presentations focusing on a range of topics of importance to biomanufacturers. These included manufacturing strategies and Bioprocess 4.0, gene therapy, cell therapy, cell culture and upstream processing, downstream processing, recovery and purification, and analytical quality. Dozens of vendors set up booths to exhibit a range of news products and services.

A keynote address by Sanchayita Ghose, PhD, executive director, head of global downstream, Bristol-Myers Squibb, entitled “Evolving Trends and Challenges in Development of Downstream Processes with Increasing Complexity of Biologics Portfolio” set the stage for thinking about and discussing how biomanufacturers should handle the growing complexity of novel biotherapeutics, particularly from the critical downstream perspective.

Another keynote, on cell and gene therapy, by Tim Hunt, CEO, the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, provided a timely and detailed look at this smoking hot sector of the biotech industry. Tim addressed a number of key issues such as what have we learned and where is the field going, what’s next for cell and gene therapies and where does it make sense to go with these products, technological advances, therapeutic areas beyond oncology indications, and what tools are required from suppliers for these types of products?

Gene and cell therapy, mRNA, the increasing complexity of biopharmaceuticals, exosomes, digitalization and digital twin technology, and continuous bioprocessing were key threads that ran throughout a number of presentations. Two talks I particularly enjoyed included one from Repligen that discussed the similar biomanufacturing paths that monoclonal antibodies and gene therapies have taken, and the other from Thermo concerned the seemingly endless debate on whether to use glass and steel bioreactors or single use products for biomanufacturing bioproducts.

In a GEN BPI newsletter going out later today you will find four articles that were written and summarize important points that were stressed by the speakers who addressed several of the topics mentioned above.


John Sterling is the editor-in-chief of GEN.

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